THE Philippine education traces its history to the pre-Spanish era. The first teachers were the parents of our Aeta and Malay ancestors.
Children were taught with survival skills. They were trained for hunting, slingshooting, and food gathering. These skills were not written in textbooks, but were in the heart of every child. When they grow older, they know, study and try to rationalize the reasons of their precepts.
They sometimes argue on the implementation of the punishment for crimes. It was then very simple, no theses, no examinations, and no tuition.
When the colonizers (Spaniards and Americans) came, they brought with them a rich experience of formal educational system. They started building classrooms and hired professional teachers – called Illustrados during the Spanish times and Thomasites during the American Period.
Formal education was such that it made the skills and abilities of the Filipinos shrink to fit into a mold designed to train lazy people.
Imagine the child, instead of planting rice, he is made to sit inside the classroom listening to the stories of teachers. In short, children were taught how to be lazy. The education during this time was only for the elites. The public school system was introduced by the Thomasites where education for all was their battle cry but the less privileged were given to the newly-trained teachers.
Then came the Japanese invasion. Some Japanese Imperial soldiers and officers became teachers and taught the Filipinos the value of self-discipline and love for country. This was a bit hard for most Filipinos to accept because they were used to the educational system of the Spaniards and the Americans. The value of equality between the rich and the poor was broken down. There was no public nor private educational institution. There were only training camps for both the rich and the poor.
After the liberation period, the Americans came back and re-established their schools. The Religious Orders, mostly Spaniards, had also re-established their schools.
At this point in time, most schools updated and evolved. Many schools and colleges were re-established as universities, others renamed themselves as colegios or universities.
However, in a short while, many schools were ordered to retain their names and subject themselves to re-accreditation before they could go into business.
When the Philippine government became established and stabilized, it created a bureau that would take charge of approving schools. This was the birth of corruption in the Philippine educational system. Many schools got accredited or were honored as universities and colleges although they do not live up to their names.
State, national, and government schools were granted university status by government without passing the standards set by the government itself. Poor quality education and products were observed through the years.
These schools produced mediocre products. Of course, there were some who lived up to their university status. While private educational institutions pass through the eye of the needle, the competitors came out with the idea of getting the status by sponsorship. You get a politician or legislator to sponsor a bill to make your school a state college or a university.
Today, the private schools have a very hard time complying with the requirements of government while their counterparts are just simply sitting down and get the accreditation and budget they want from the government which is supposed to help the private sector.
Education is a role and obligation of the State where when it fails to support such an institution, it needs to support the existing ones. The government should not compete with the private schools but they should help develop the private sector.
St. Ezekiel Moreno, St. Lorenzo Ruiz; St. Pedro Calungsod, Pope St. John Paul II, Mons. John Su and Liu; Fr. Cornelio Moral, OAR and Fr. Loreto Dacanay, OAR; Manoy Bill and Sir Faraon Lopez, pray for us.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on March 10, 2018.
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